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Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Resident Fellow
  • Islam and the West
  • Islam and Women
  • Islam in Europe
Contact E-mail: Fax: 202-862-5924   Biography
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken defender of women's rights in Islamic societies, was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society and defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted in the assassination of Mr. van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. At AEI, Ms. Hirsi Ali researches the relationship between the West and Islam, women's rights in Islam, violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments, and Islam in Europe.


  • Member of Parliament, VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy), The Netherlands, 2003-2006
  • Researcher, Wiardi Beckman Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2001-2002
  • Interpreter and Adviser, Office of Intercultural Communication, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1995-2001


M.A., Leiden University, The Netherlands
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Articles and Commentary [List all]

A discussion of the relationship between Islam and the West is much more problematic than President Obama realizes.

A quick take on President Obama's address to the Muslim world.

Muslims are using Europe's liberal democratic apparatus to roll back our hard-fought freedoms.

Books Infidel

In her remarkable and unflinchingly honest memoir, the author recounts her transformation from what she terms, "the world of faith to the world of reason."

The Caged Virgin

This book is aprofound meditation on Islam and the role of women, the rights of the individual, the roots of fanaticism, and Western policies toward Islamic countries and immigrant communities.

Speeches and Testimony Coming to America

A reflection on an immigrant's African background and her joy to now live in the West.

The Role of Journalism Today

Journalists have a responsibility to illuminate the vast differences between Islam and the West.

Ladies First

Ayaan Hirsi Ali reflects on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and its relevance for women in Islamic societies.

Related Materials
Media Respond to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel